One of two men who allegedly broke into a U.S. Postal Service truck on the West Side on Friday has been charged with burglary, after an off-duty Chicago police officer spotted him and an accomplice loading mail into an SUV.
The police officer was driving to work at the Deering District Friday afternoon when he spotted two men moving mail from a Postal Service truck parked on the 5900 block of West Fulton Boulevard, a release from police News Affairs said. The men, neither of whom were dressed in postal carrier uniforms, broke into the parked mail truck and were taking mail from the truck and moving it into a black GMC Suburban parked nearby.
The two men quickly jumped into the Suburban and sped away with the mail. The 33-year-old police officer began following the two men fleeing in the Suburban as he dialed 911 and provided the dispatcher with up to the minute details of the offenders, vehicle and direction of travel.
Austin District officers in a Chicago Police patrol wagon monitored the radio activity of the
crime in progress when they spotted the black GMC Suburban in the 900 block of North Parkside Avenue. One of the offenders attempted to throw mail out of the vehicle and into the street.
Officers quickly apprehended one of the men -- Darrick Smith, 43, of the 7300 block of South Harvard Avenue -- and he was charged with one count of burglary.
The off-duty officer positively identified Smith and the vehicle involved in the crime. The second offender fled from the vehicle during the escape and was not in custody as of Saturday.
A large chunk of concrete was found next to the U.S. Postal truck with a broken window on
the driver’s side door.
USPS Chicago District spokesman Mark Reynolds said all the mail that was on Smith was recovered, but as of Friday afternoon some of the stolen mail had not been recovered.
Anyone in that ZIP code who believes that mail of theirs may be missing should call the U.S. Postal Inspection Services at (877) 876-2455, Reynolds said.